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Old Feb 26, 2010, 12:35 AM   #1
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Default Telephoto zoom and the importance of IS?

New to DSLR, haven't owned a SLR since the '80s.

I need a telephoto zoom lense, both the EF 70-300 IS and the EF 70-200 4L (non IS) are in my price range. Mostly it will be used outdoors or for well lit indoor stuff. It is going on a 2/3 frame camera so the 70-200 L will do at the upper end of its zoom range--the non-L lenses seem to get only moderate reviews at the upper end of their zoom anyway. Are there any lenses I am missing in the $500-$700 range or anywhere I could get a good used 70-200 F4 IS for half price?
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Old Feb 26, 2010, 6:40 AM   #2
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If you'll be shooting sports/action/wildlife, then you'll need faster shutter speeds to prevent motion blur due to subject movement. Those same higher shutter speeds will probably prevent motion blur due to camera shake as well. But if you'll be doing any indoor shooting with them (?) you'll probably need the extra help that IS provides.

Both the lenses you're considering are very good.

And 70-200/4 IS lenses are available on the used market, but ... half price? No.
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Old Feb 26, 2010, 7:45 AM   #3
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I'd give a better description of subject types and conditions. "used outdoors" doesn't tell use much. Ditto for "well lit interior stuff". For example, are you talking moving subjects or still subjects, how far away will you be, and are you planning on using a flash or not. A lens for indoor sports is one thing. A lens for indoor portraits is something else entirely. ;-)

One interesting new lens in the 70-200mm range that was just announced is the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM. It's going to incorporate a couple of optical elements of a new type that Sigma is calling FLD (F Low Dispersion), which they claim will have the same performance as flourite glass. It's also stabilized.

But, we'll have to wait for it to start shipping to see how it's performance compares to other 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses (and I don't know when to expect it on store shelves, since it was just announced).


It's also likely to be well over your desired budget. ;-)

In a lower cost 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom, I'd take a look at the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8. It's not going to be very suitable for sports, as it's Autofocus is a bit on the slow side. But, for something like portraits or theatre, or other subject types that are not as demanding on the Autofocus System, it would probably be a good bet.
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Old Feb 26, 2010, 10:40 AM   #4
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For what it's worth, the 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM isn't all that bad - many reviews I've read compare it favourably to more expensive 'L' offerings. I had one, and whilst it was a little soft at 300mm, it was quick and sharp, not to mention very good value for money.

The 'IS' really was useful to have (and very effective), although as TCav points out, if you're using faster shutter speeds to freeze subject action, having it is not essential.
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 6:24 PM   #5
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Also remember at the longer zoom range, the IS helps out allot. If you are looking for more reach the ef 70-300mm IS USM is not a bad lens. It is actually a very good lens. I have it and the 300mm reach is useful. Where 200mm sometimes leave you a bit short. If you are not shooting sports. It slight lower AF of the ef 70-300mm is not a issue.
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